Internet 106

ds106 is right around the corner, so I better start blogging about it again. I had a bunch of ideas about what to do this semester. I thought of using a superhero theme, something I still might run with at some point in the future. They’re a thing in pop culture these days, but there’s a history to them, and one could even talk about them as modern mythology. We could also play with the idea of multiple identities. So there are a lot of different paths it could take, a lot of storytelling possibilities. I thought of playing with the election and starting our own ds106 party, so we could play with propaganda again. That could be risky though, due to the potential for conflict, and we’d have to figure out what to do post-election. Scott Lo brought up the secret agent angle, which I really like because it plays off my name. I may run with that in the spring semester. I wonder about it though, because the genre tends to be sexist. Some people took issue with the western theme for that very reason. Everyone is free to critique and deconstruction and subvert the themes we use, but most people don’t. They seem to prefer to play it straight. Maybe I need to take the lead on that.

But I’ve been thinking back to The Internet Course, and bringing that into ds106 loosely as a theme, so it’s not only on the web and of the web, but also about the web, in whatever way the class wants to take it. That makes it less about genre and more about what we make as a class. I like the idea of exploring questions like: What is this thing we call the Internet? What was it meant to be? What do we want it to be? We can look at Vannevar Bush’s vision, where Englebart took it, what’s happened to it… We can look at how we can make it our own, our web. It’s not supposed to be about what I want though, so I’m hoping to get questions to explore from the class, so that they take part in setting the direction of the course.

One thing I’m adding to the course is I want to use it as an additional communication/connection channel, using annotating as commenting. It feels like it could be more conversational to me. It may be totally new to the students. We’ll see how it goes.

I’m also bringing Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work! to the course. Amy Burvall recommended it on Twitter some time ago, as the best book about education that’s not about education, or something like that. What Kleon talks about is a lot of what the course is trying to do – show your work, experiment in the open, talk about what you’re doing.

I was also playing with sounds and temporal incongruity a little. I don’t know if the sounds will mean much to people who aren’t of the proper vintage, but there’s a kind of progression from rotary phone to modem to Netflix which is supposed to symbolize how things change. Or something.

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